[ uh b-ses-iv-kuh m-puhl-siv ]
/ əbˈsɛs ɪv kəmˈpʌl sɪv /


of or relating to a personality style characterized by perfectionism, indecision, conscientiousness, concern with detail, rigidity, and inhibition.
Psychiatry. of or relating to a neurosis characterized by persistent intrusion of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or the performance of actions, as repeated hand-washing, that one is unable to stop (compulsions).


a person having such a personality style.

Nearby words

  1. obsess,
  2. obsessed,
  3. obsession,
  4. obsessional,
  5. obsessive,
  6. obsessive-compulsive disorder,
  7. obsessively,
  8. obsidian,
  9. obsidian dating,
  10. obsidional coin

Origin of obsessive-compulsive

First recorded in 1925–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obsessive-compulsive

Medicine definitions for obsessive-compulsive



Having a tendency to dwell on unwanted thoughts or perform certain repetitious rituals, especially as a defense against anxiety from unconscious conflicts.


A person who exhibits obsessive-compulsive behavior.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.